Posts Tagged ‘Top 50 DMB trade values’

Here is the introduction to the DMB (Diamond Mind Baseball) Trade Value series.

2010 DMB Trade Value: #50 -#41

2010 DMB Trade Value: #40 – #31

2010 DMB Trade Value: #30 – #21

2010 DMB Trade Value: #20 – #11

So here we are, to our Top Ten DMB Ball Players and I must say looking at the top 15-20 there isn’t much that seperates most of these players, almost personal preference or just slight improvement in key areas (and age).  It has been awesome to break this type of list down with a “DMB” twist and I look forward to doing it every season.  We’ll see who rises and falls the most season over season and see what hot new players burst onto the scene in 2011, hope you enjoyed.

10) SP Adam Wainwright (R) – Age: 29

Quick Take:  Definitely one of the best arms in baseball, sporting a solid 8.2 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 2.91 FIP and a solid gb rate Wainwright is quickly becoming a reliable workhorse and ace pitcher many had envisioned when he was a prospect.  His big weakness in 2009 was his propensity to get slightly roughed up by left handed hitters appears to be over given his .222 avg vs L this season and he should be counted upon to be one of the game’s best starters for the next 5-6 seasons.

DMB PRO: solid control, groundball rate

DMB CON: lefties have historically hit him relatively hard, not a major concern at this point. 

9) 2B Robinson Cano (L) – Age:  28

Quick Take:  Can you believe this is Cano’s 6th season with the Yankees?  It feels like just yesterday he was the young rookie from “Murderer’s row plus Cano” but now he is firmly entrenched in his prime and his offensive game has gone to unseen heights, his power (.238 ISO, .563 SLG%) as well as patience (8.5 BB%, almost double is career rate) has powered the second basemen to a career best .402 wOBA.  Cano plays a very valuable position and has improved his defense in 2010 (3.2 UZR) and is the best overall second basemen in the game on pace for 30 HRs.  He has finally put it all together in 2010 and should remain among the best middle infield options in DMB for 4-5 seasons if he continues to improve his patience and plate discipline.

DMB PRO: huge power for a 2B, big numbers versus lefties and righties.

DMB CON: plays in hitter’s park, still needs to improve BB rate to maximize DMB value.

8 ) SP Josh Johnson (R) – Age:  26

Quick Take:  One of the top overall arms in baseball, Johnson has taken another step forward in 2010 posting career best numbers in ERA (2.28), K/9 (8.8), BB/9 (2.28), FIP (2.50 and xFIP (3.23) in his second full season in the majors since coming back from TJ surgery.  He is equally effective against lefties and righties and possesses one of the biggest fastballs in the game (94.8 MPH) and has shown a solid gb rate in his career.  The only flaw he has DMB wise is pitching at Marlins Stadium, a notorious pitchers park.

DMB PRO: huge strikeout numbers coupled with low walk totals, good groundball rate, effective vs lefties and still improving

DMB CON: plays in is a pitchers park

7) 1B Albert Pujols (R) – Age:  30

Quick Take:  Having an “off-year” with only a .420 wOBA, Pujols is in contention for the NL Triple Crown and is again having a remarkable season, if you don’t compare to his past body of work of course.  One of the best hitter’s of our generation, Pujols is likely to be among the game’s best all around players until he retires.

DMB PRO: best overall hitter in the game?  Patience/power

DMB CON: only a 1B.

6) 1B Miguel Cabrera (R) – Age:  27

Quick Take:  Probably the game’s best right handed hitter, if he was still rated at 3B he would probably be near the top of this list but as it is he is still firmly in the top ten as his offensive ability carries him a long way.  Miggy possesses huge power (.305 ISO), patience (14.4 BB %, .437 OBP) and a huge .446 wOBA all while playing in a pitcher’s park with zero protection is a pretty lame Tigers lineup.  Equally amazing against lefties (1.034 OPS) and righties (1.096 OPS) Cabrera is entering his prime and there is no reason to believe he won’t remain among the game’s best hitters for the next 5-6 seasons.

DMB PRO: amazing hitter, power and patience.  Plays in a pitcher’s park

DMB CON: only plays 1B, lousy defender

 5) SP Roy Halladay (R) – Age:  33

Quick Take:  The best pitcher in baseball, period.  Halladay is a nightmare matchup for any hitter with his impeccable control over an arsenal vast enough to make an army general jealous.  Halladay throws a nasty two-seam fastball with good sink, a cutter he throws to both lefties and righties, a solid overhand curveball and an improving changeup he hasn’t thrown with much frequency until 2010 – scary.

The only thing keeping him from being ranked even higher is his age, though showing no signs of slowing down in 2010 (career best ERA at 2.27, FIP 2.80 and xFIP 2.91) Halladay has carved up the NL after serving as the game’s best pitcher in the game’s best division (AL East) since 2002.  Doc seems to have a skill set that will age well (a control, groundball pitcher) that a Greg Maddux like age 36-40 period doesn’t seem far-fetched.

DMB PRO: workhorse, solid against lefties and righties, awesome control and BB rate, groundball pitcher, pitches in a hitter’s park, is a DMB dream pitcher

DMB CON: aging – like fine wine however.

4) 3B Evan Longoria (R) – Age:  25

Quick Take:  One of the best all around players in the major leagues, his big time power (career .240 ISO, .523 SLG%), decent patience (10.2 BB %) and outstanding defensive abilities (15.3, 17.7 and 8.4 UZR marks the past three seasons).  Still young and theoretically improving Longoria will be a DMB mainstay on rosters for the next ten seasons with his huge level of talent.  Hits lefties and righties nearly equally as well and has added a bit of speed in 2010 (15 SBs) to go along with the power.

DMB PRO: huge power, great glove at 3B

DMB CON: could strike out less, never been a huge average hitter until 2010

3) C Joe Mauer (L) – Age:  27

Quick Take:  The player to which all prospective catchers will be compared to for the next 15-20 seasons, maybe longer.  Mauer has everything you want in a DMB player, he plays the most demanding (and leanest) position at catcher, has solid power for a backstop (.156 ISO), patience (11.7 BB %, 11.0 K %) and average (career .327).  The fluky power show from 2009 (in 2009, his HR/FB was 20.4 %, his career mark is 10.7 %) hasn’t returned but when you have a catcher that is as strong of an overall hitter and player as Mauer you have one of the top assets in DMB baseball.  Only 27 years old and entering his prime, keep an eye on the park factors for the new Minnesota ballpark.

DMB PRO: premium position and top flight stats, hits lefties and righties

DMB CON: power has come and gone over his career.

2) 3B Ryan Zimmerman (R) – Age:  26

Quick Take:  Simply, Zimmerman is a beast.  Playing in a pitcher’s park Zimmerman has put up huge power numbers (career .199 ISO), his 12.3 BB % is a career high which has also led to a career best OBP of .387, Zimmerman has it all.  One of the best defensive players in baseball at a relatively thin 3B position, there aren’t many better all around players in the game when factoring in age, talent and what DMB values in a player.  Zimmerman might still improve as he is only 26 years old and the future is bright for a guy who has already put up a 6.3 WAR in 2010.

DMB PRO: big offensive numbers in pitcher’s park, awesome defender, solid versus lefties and righties

DMB CON: nothing major

#1) SS Hanley Ramirez (R) – Age:  27

Quick Take:  Like we discussed with Pujols previously, Hanley is having a bit of a ‘down’ year but has still put up an impressive .370 wOBA with a triple slash line of 299/375/476 in 2010 while providing league average defense at shortstop, he is miles better than any other SS in DMB considering he also plays in a pitcher’s park.  He destroys righties (874 OPS in 2010, 1018 in 2009) and has been remarkably consistent with his offensive numbers (.364, .411, .405, .410, .370 wOBA ) since his rookie season. 

Hanley brings everything to the table, average, power, patience, speed and improved defense.  At only 27 years old, Hanley will be entering his prime hitting seasons and is poised to be considered one of the best hitting shortstops in the history of the game if he continues at his current torrid pace.

DMB PRO: best offensive middle infielder in baseball, plays in a pitcher’s park, great all around game, hits righties better than lefties

DMB CON: could stand to improve BB rate to maximize DMB value

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Here is the introduction to the DMB (Diamond Mind Baseball) Trade Value series.

2010 DMB Trade Value: #50 -#41

2010 DMB Trade Value: #40 – #31

2010 DMB Trade Value: #30 – #21

20) CF/RF Josh Hamilton (L) – Age:  29

Quick Take:  Hamilton appeared ready to take his place among the game’s elite after a stellar 2008 campaign (.530 SLG%, .385 wOBA) but things quickly turned south in 2009 as Josh struggled through injuries and a season long slump.  Well 2010 has answered any potential questions, and then some, Hamilton is having a career year and hitting for power (.277 ISO, .637 SLG%, .448 wOBA) and though his average is being propped by a .395 BABIP, he has cut his strikeouts down marginally year over year.  An average fielder, he still qualifies at CF which is a bonus.  If not for the injuries and shaky past would have ranked much higher.

DMB PRO: huge lefty slugger destroys right handed pitching, qualifies at CF

DMB CON: scary past life struggles, doesn’t hit lefties well, plays at hitter’s park, average defender, what is his true talent level?

19) 1B Joey Votto (L) – Age: 27

Quick Take:  Has put up monster numbers throughout his young career and currently sports a huge .438 wOBA for the Reds as their first basemen.  Plays solid defense and is in the early stages of his prime seasons.  Would have ranked much higher but there are a ton of great 1B and this takes away from some of his value, also some DMB leagues allow ANY player to man first base regardless of if they are rated there or not.

DMB PRO: huge power/on-base combo, good defense

DMB CON: hitter’s park and only a first basemen

18) SP Tim Lincecum (R) – Age:  26

Quick Take:  Though I think the ‘best pitcher in baseball’ tag might be removed after a more pedestrian 2010 (3.48 xFIP, 3.80 ERA) the ‘freak’ is still among the game’s best arms with a still solid 9.4 K/9, 30.9 o-swing % and one of baseball’s best changeups.  However, his value has taken a hit as he finally looks human after years of utter domination, playing in a pitchers park and a rising BB rate (3.6 BB/9) hurt his overall DMB value but we will give him another season to get back to his old form before starting to officially panic.

DMB PRO: strong strikeout numbers

DMB CON: rising BB rate and pitches in a pitchers park

17) 2B Dustin Pedroia (R) – Age:  27

Quick Take:  The pesky little second basemen has been a solid player since entering the league in 2006 and 2010 has been a solid but injury riddle season.  Increased power (.205 ISO) along with his rock solid defending at the scarce position of 2B give him immense value going forward.  Probably has reached the apex of his career and will likely never rank higher than this given the propensity for 2B to literally fall off a cliff in their mid to early 30s but for now, a hitter in the midst of his prime.

DMB PRO: good defense, solid bat for a 2B

DMB CON: Fenway takes away some of his hitting value

16) 1B Adrian Gonzalez (L) – Age:  28

Quick Take:  A monster with the bat given that he plays at PetCo park in San Diego, career .224 ISO and .508 SLG, his stats are hugely magnified in a neutral ballpark and he is a DMB machine if your team plays in a hitters park.  Gonzalez provides solid defense and as long as he keeps producing at this clip in San Diego will be among the best hitters in DMB.  Keep an eye on his impending free agency.

DMB PRO: huge power numbers in the worst hitting park in the majors, good defense

DMB CON: only a 1B

15) C Buster Posey (R) – Age:  23

Quick Take:  Posey has been everything he was advertised as and more, posting a .374 wOBA so far in 2010.  A few question marks remain in terms of where Posey will end up playing position wise, if he is a catcher the sky is the limit in terms of his value, if he sticks at 1B, he won’t see this list again.  There have been no indications that he won’t be a fulltime catcher so for now, all systems go and stock way up.  His numbers likely won’t be this gaudy with a full rigorous season behind the plate, but he might also see improvements in BB rate (currently only 5.6%) and this is only his first full season in the bigs.

DMB PRO: great numbers for a catcher in a pitchers park

DMB CON: positional questions, will he stick at C?

14) RF Jason Heyward (L) – Age:  21

Quick Take:  A 21 year old rookie shouldn’t be posting the insane numbers that Heyward currently has put up, sporting a solid .197 ISO and .379 wOBA Heyward has shown every indication that stardom is in his very immediate future, if not already.

DMB PRO: solid power, good fielder

DMB CON: growing pains of youth, must learn to hit lefties

13) SS Troy Tulowitzki (R) – Age:  26

Quick Take:  One of the better all around players in the bigs, Tulo has solid power (career .190 ISO, .362 wOBA)) and plays a mean shortstop defensively.  Injury concerns have started to creep up and playing in Coors Field definitely hurts his overall value in DMB, however given the lack of options at SS he is among the game’s most valuable players in spite of a few flaws.

DMB PRO: good hitting/fielding shortstop

DMB CON: Coors Field, lack of patience hurt his overall DMB value

12) SP Ubaldo Jimenez (R) – Age:  26

Quick Take:  A 26 year old pitcher with a 3.14 FIP, 8.2 K/9, 50% gb rate, 1.13 WHIP and 0.41 HR/9 would be one of the best pitchers in the game no matter where he pitched, but when you take into consideration the home park of Coors Field, it takes it to a whole other level.  Jimenez has simply developed into one of baseball’s best pitchers and might be the best pitcher in DMB given the park factors of Coors Field.  Just entering his prime years, Jimenez appears poised to become one of DMBs best hurlers for the next 5-6 season, possesses the hardest fastball in baseball (96.2 MPH).

DMB PRO: good strikeout numbers, solid ground ball/homerun rate and pitches in an extreme hitters park

DMB CON: high-ish walk rate

11) 2B Chase Utley (L) – Age:  32

Quick Take:  Contradictory I know as I knocked Pedroia for being close to his early 30s and here I am ranking Utley as one of the best overall players in the game, and for good reason.  Utley has been a model of good health until this season (given his age, there is slight concern going forward) and his career .387 wOBA, .222 ISO, .379 OBP and amazing defense at the thin position of 2B is absolutely insane.  Utley is definitely deserving of such a high ranking and should be counted among the game’s best hitters for the next 2-3 season at least.

DMB PRO: great all around hitter/defender at weak position

DMB CON: is hitting the age some second basemen turn into pumpkins, hitter’s park

Here is the introduction to the DMB (Diamond Mind Baseball) Trade Value series.

2010 DMB Trade Value: #50 -#41

40) 2B Ian Kinsler (R) – Age:  28

Quick Take:  One of the best hitters at a thin position (2B) when healthy, which has been a major factor over his entire career.  His career high in games was in 2009 with 144 and in 2010 he has provided solid overall value with his stick (.359 wOBA) and glove (0.2 UZR).  His power is way down (.235 ISO in 2009, .120 in 2010) but can injuries be to blame for the power outage?  Another guy who needs to prove he can stay healthy and put up consistent power numbers.

DMB PRO: good bat and glove at a weak position

DMB CON: injury prone, declining power

39) 3B/RF Jose Bautista (R) – Age:  30

Quick Take:  Having a career year with his first real fulltime gig with the Toronto Blue Jays, his power has been massive (.351 ISO!!) and he leads the league in HRs (42) and even walks a ton (14.9 BB %), bonus is the positional value as he is rated at 1B, 3B and RF.  Not a great defender at any position, questions are already being raised whether he can produce anywhere near the same level in 2011, my guess is not, but until that is proven otherwise, given his power and positional versatility he is a valuable player going forward.

DMB PRO: huge power/patience, plays multiple positions

DMB CON: low average, a fluke season?  Skydome has been launching pad this year.

38) C Matt Wieters (S) – Age: 24

Quick Take:  So obviously he can’t walk on water as we were led to believe however the kid is only in his first full season at the major league level at 24 years of age and playing the toughest position in the sport in the toughest division in the game.  While some of the prospect lustre is firmly off Wieters, there is still a lot of time left for him to develop and we can’t just forget the 600 or so god like PAs from the minor leagues.  This is purely a speculative play for a weak position over the next 5-6 years and though I am still buying stock in this guy we will need to see marked improvement next year.

DMB PRO: switch hitting catcher, solid potential at the thinnest position in the game

DMB CON: lacklustre overall offensive numbers thus far.

37) SP Justin Verlander (R) – Age: 27

Quick Take: His K-rate has normalized in 2010 (8.5 K/9) after a sensational 2009 (10.0 K/9) and his walks are also slightly up, but I am still a huge believer in Verlander going forward and he is still among the game’s best starting pitchers and is only now entering his prime seasons.  Armed with one of the game’s best arsenal of pitchers, all of his pitches (fastball, curve, change and slider) show a positive run value (per 100 pitches thrown).

DMB PRO: solid K rate, consistent, doesn’t possess huge splits (good vs. L and R)

DMB CON: plays in a pitcher’s park, decreasing K’s a slight concern

36) LF Ryan Braun (R) – Age: 27

Quick Take: The Hebrew Hammer is having his worst statistical season in the big leagues and still possesses a .370 wOBA and .843 OPS.  His power is down across the board but he is still young, has shown massive power in the past and is entering his prime hitting years, consider me still on board the bandwagon for one more season in hopes that the power returns or his value will take a serious hit.

DMB PRO: destroys left handed pitchers

DMB CON: only a LF, lack of patience at plate, hitter’s park, decreasing power output

35) SS Elvis Andrus (R) – Age: 22

Quick Take:  What does it say about the current state of the shortstop position when a guy with a sub .700 OPS ranks among the most valuable players in the game?  Andrus is still an exciting (young) prospect and the Rangers still have hopes that his bat continues to improve.  He already plays one of the better defensive shortstops in baseball and adds a speed element offensively, hopefully he can hit for more power going forward.

DMB PRO: provides valuable PAs and is a great defensive player at very shallow position, speed

DMB CON: very little power and plays in hitter’s park

34) 3B David Wright (R) – Age: 28

Quick Take:  While no longer in the discussion for one of the game’s best players Wright still provides good pop (.207 ISO, 499 SLG) from a premium position.

DMB PRO: plays in pitchers park

DMB CON: declining patience/OBP affects overall value

33) CF Colby Rasmus (L) – Age:  24

Quick Take:  A slick fielding centre fielder with power gives you a valuable asset going forward.  Rasmus has massive power potential (.232 ISO) and should settle in as an average defensive centre fielder when all is said and done, plus at only 24 years of age can still improve.  His lack of plate discipline has given him a shockingly high K rate (32.6 K %) and he can’t hit lefties at all, but with time hopefully these improve or his value will definitely take a hit.

DMB PRO: good power, good defense

DMB CON: cannot hit lefties, way too many strikeouts

32) SS Starlin Castro (R) – Age: 20

Quick Take: Anytime a 20 year old more than holds his own with the stick (.338 wOBA), plays a solid position that is dying for talent (SS, -0.5 UZR) and is still growing and maturing physically is definitely a player worth owning.  Castro has given Cubbies fans something to cheer for in 2010 with a pretty decent rookie season overall.  There are a ton of holes in his offensive game (patience mostly) but he is 20 years old and this is to be expected, the future could be bright for this kid and another speculative buy at an ultra thin position.

DMB PRO: shortstop with upside, solid defender

DMB CON: growing pains of youth

31) RF/CF Jayson Werth (R) – Age:  31

Quick Take:  One of the more underrated players in the game, Werth has power (.222 ISO), patience (12.9 BB % and .390 OBP), speed (normally good for 20 SBs) and plays solid defense at all three outfield spots.  He strikes out a bit much and he plays in a hitter’s park but at just 31 years old should have some solid years left, he is a free agent at season’s end so keep an eye on where he lands (ballpark factors).  Werth also normally has extreme platoon splits and struggles against righties in DMB, has hit righties better in 2010.

DMB PRO: solid defensively (rated at CF), good power/patience

DMB CON: strikes out a lot, has heavy platoon splits (awesome vs. L, average to bad vs. R), good hitter’s park

Here is the introduction to the DMB (Diamond Mind Baseball) Trade Value series.

50) CF Andres Torres (S) – Age: 32

Quick Take:  One of the more underrated overall players in baseball, Torres has emerged in 2010 as a fulltime player for the Giants and has shown solid pop (.213 ISO, .379 wOBA, .498 SLG%) all while playing a very solid outfield (18.1 UZR).  Torres is a switch hitter though he hits much better against righties and he will be a very valuable DMB player for the next 2-3 seasons if his improved offensive ability remains from 2009 and 2010.

DMB PRO: solid bat, great defensive player at premium CF spot, pitcher’s park

DMB CON: strikes out a bit much, struggles versus lefties.

49) LF Carl Crawford (L) – Age: 29 

Quick Take:  When you combine a great fielder (22.1 UZR) and a solid hitter (.366 wOBA) you have yourself a valuable overall player.  Crawford is having a career season (already matched his WAR total from last season in 35 fewer games) and his combination of speed, defense and pop land him on our list.  His low-ish BB rate (7.4%) has sapped some of his overall DMB value and he has been an underachiever in past seasons of simulation baseball, in terms of avg/obp/slg. 

DMB PRO: speed to burn, good LF defender

DMB CON: only a LF, low OBP has sapped some of his value in DMB, seems to under achieve

48) CF Austin Jackson (R) – Age:  23

Quick Take:  Can’t believe the Yankees basically traded this guy for Curtis Granderson.  Jackson will never be an elite hitter and his .307 batting average is being hugely (and artificially) propped up by an unsustainable BABIP of .421 and his lack of patience (6.9 BB %) and knack for striking out (27.7 K %) sap a lot of his DMB value.  However, he is going to be one of the better defensive centre fielders for the next 10 seasons and at only 23 years old, he can still improve on his offensive weaknesses.

DMB PRO: plays in pitchers park, excellent defender, good speed

DMB CON: horrible patience and approach at plate, too many strikeouts

47) SP Clayton Kershaw (L) – Age: 22

Quick Take:  Very impressive overall numbers for a pitcher of his age, 9.5 K/9, improving 3.9 BB/9 and good HR rate (0.58 HR/9) for a solid 3.86 xFIP.  The walks are a concern and he needs to continue to improve in that area, especially as a lefty in DMB where the line-ups can be extremely stacked against the southpaws.  However, for a pitcher as young as Kershaw, the future is still very bright.  Pitching at Dodger’s Stadium will hurt his overall DMB value but being relatively strong against right handed batters will help, if not for ballpark and control issues (and being a lefty) might have ranked higher.

DMB PRO: big strikeout numbers, improving control

DMB CON: fly ball pitcher, still too many walks, pitches at extreme pitcher’s park

46) SS Stephen Drew (L) – Age: 27

Quick Take:  I think a lot of people expected more out of Stephen Drew when he took over as the D’Backs SS in 2007 after raking in 2006 (226 PAs, .367 wOBA) but being a solid defensive shortstop (7.1 UZR in 2010) and still posting a .352 wOBA means he is probably slightly underrated in terms of overall DMB value.  Entering his prime years, the lefty hitting shortstop might even show some improvement in his overall offensive game and should prove valuable given position scarcity for the next 3-5 seasons.

DMB PRO: solid bat + Glove at the ultra-thin SS position

DMB CON: plays in hitters park

45) SP Francisco Liriano (L) – Age: 27

Quick Take:  One of only three lefties to make the list (and one of only eleven pitchers in total) Frankie has risen from the ashes this season after two relatively lacklustre seasons following his TJ surgery.  While not quite the robot pitcher who incinerated hitter’s bats Francisco Liriano has been downright nasty in 2010, posting a 9.8 K/9, 2.33 FIP, 53.8 GB % and a 3.3 K/BB in 155+ IPs. 

Liriano looks to have returned to form and should be counted among the game’s best pitchers for the next 5-7 seasons with a little luck and a clean bill of health – knock on wood.  While he has some of the best stuff in the game, being a lefty knocks him down a bit as well as his overall numbers versus right handed hitters. 

DMB PRO: high strikeout rate, solid groundball rate

DMB CON: lefty starter, unknown future ball park ratings in Minnesota

44) 2B Gordon Beckham (R) – Age: 24

Quick Take:  After a promising rookie campaign (.351 wOBA) Beckham has had a dreadful season in 2010 (.308 wOBA) however has shown some promise over the past two months and is still a league average fielder at a premium (and shallow) defensive position (2B).  I am still a believer in “Becks” and I feel he is primed for a breakout season in 2011 and should be one of the better second base options for the next 3-5 seasons.

DMB PRO: quality defender

DMB CON: plays in hitter friendly environment

43) 2B/3B Martin Prado (R) – Age: 27

Quick Take:  Possibly another surprise player to rank so high but Prado has improved offensively (.355 + .367 wOBA in 2009 and 2010 respectively) and he plays multiple positions (1B, 2B, 3B) which gives him the versatility to justify this ranking.  Could stand to take a few more walks but does sport a solid .360 OBP, an underrated and valuable middle infielder, second base is just a disaster position right now, giving him a serious bump.

DMB PRO: positional versatility (2B is another shallow position), solid overall offensive numbers

DMB CON: lack of patience could cut his DMB value, just an average defender at 2B.

42) SP Mat Latos (R) – Age: 23

Quick Take:  If he didn’t pitch at the cavernous PetCo park, Latos might have ranked much higher but he will be punished slightly by DMB for his home ballpark.  However, a 23 year old right handed starter with a 9.0 K/9, 3.15 FIP and 3.6 K/BB certainly belongs on a Top 50 list, he might have the most potential of any arm that made this list.  The kid looks legit.

DMB PRO: solid K rate, limits walks

DMB CON: fly-ball pitcher, will get heavily penalized for pitching in San Diego’s pitcher friendly environment

41) C Miguel Montero (L) – Age: 27

Quick Take:  Routinely overlooked, Montero plays the most demanding position and has put up a career triple slash line of 270/336/449, extremely strong for a solid defensive catcher.  Possessing good pop (183 ISO in 2010) and solid patience (9.9 BB%) Montero is entering his prime years and should be among the game’s best hitting catchers for the next 3-5 seasons.  He will never put up huge numbers in DMB, but compared to the very thin catcher position is a valued member of any simulation team.

DMB PRO: thin catching position, hits righties hard

DMB CON: low OBP limits overall hitting value, slightly punished for Arizona’s hitter friendly park.

A lot of my time is dedicated to playing in a simulation baseball league to which I am a co-founder (established in 1999) and a proud (and active) member to this day.  The league is run on ‘Diamond Mind Baseball’, the preeminent baseball simulation software which uses the player’s current stats (from previous full MLB season) and using the advanced game engine produces results for games and a season. 

I know there are a lot of simulation players out there, and more specifically a lot of DMB users and I have decided to construct a ‘Top 50 Most Valuable Simulation Players’ list for your enjoyment.  This will be similar to the extremely popular ‘Fangraphs Top 50 Trade Assets’ but I will tailor the list to the needs to simulation baseball players and more specifically to the parameters and setup of my particular league as it a fairly standard type of league.

My league has 16 teams (divided into 2 Leagues and 4 divisions of 4 teams), 40 players per roster and is set to the current ‘NL’ era (or atmosphere for stats, so it uses the NL team batting average, E.R.A and runs/game etc).  If I have lost you, sorry, a simple explanation is that we are the owners/GMs of ‘fake’ teams that play an entire season and postseason using the  most advanced ‘simulation’ software on the market. 

If you have never played in one, I highly recommend it, it forces you to become totally enamoured with the game of baseball when you are in a league like this and in turn you learn a ton about the game and it’s players as with 640 total players combined on our rosters, you need to know more than just the top 25-30 players in the game, you even need to know relief pitchers, backup infielders and a healthy knowledge of prospects is a must.

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There are a lot of different aspects that DMB uses to churn out the results, and this list will be comprised of players who I feel are most valuable to the DMB world and not necessarily just the major leagues.  This list will be similar to the Fangraphs lists however this is not based on salary at all as our league has no salary cap or any vesting interest in what a player makes per season.  Age is going to play a factor but this list will not contain many pure prospects (think Mike Stanton) as we have a steep amount of drops at season’s end so production in the next 2-3 seasons is vital and will be a major factor in the overall rankings.  Youth is preferred of course, but if a player is still in or entering his prime he will still be ranked accordingly (think Pujols, Halladay).

Here are some of the factors I have taken into account based on my knowledge and experience with DMB:

Position, position, position:  Just like in real life, there is a huge premium placed on the catcher, shortstop, centre field and second base positions – not only for defense sake but there just aren’t as many solid players to fill those spots league wide.  This isn’t to say I will take Craig Counsell over Mark Teixeira but one has to factor in positional value (and scarcity) as well as the offensive contributions.

Defense:  DMB assigns a ‘defensive range’ rating (from PR to EX) and defense plays a big overall role in team success and keeping your pitcher’s ERAs as low as possible.  Like in real life, solid defenders are preferable to the stone handed fielders so don’t expect to see Adam Dunn on this list!

Versatility:  if defense is important, than versatility is huge as the more positions a player is rated the more valuable he is for the season, as long as he isn’t rated poor at most of them.  Also, players cannot play out of position in most leagues and are heavily penalized if one’s that allows this. 

Park factors:  DMB places an emphasis on home ballpark for the players, so a pitcher who is solid at Coors Field is going to be more effective than if he pitched at PetCo – Ditto for hitters, but reversed, of course.

Handedness:  For pitchers it is more beneficial to be right-handed as a southpaw can face a super stacked line-up of all righty hitters who have incredible splits vs. Lefties.  For hitters, I give a slight advantage to lefties (or switch hitters) as the league is normally loaded with right handed starters (for the above reason) who historically are tougher versus righties.

Age:   younger is preferred, but as we discussed players entering or in their primes are welcome additions to many rosters as you just want immediate productivity.  With no salary cap or salary structure in most leagues, there is no worry about arbitration, free agency or ‘super two statuses’.  Again, this doesn’t mean I am going to take Tim Hudson over Felix Hernandez regardless of how good a season Huddy is currently having, age has to be factored in.

Other general nuances:   over the years I have noticed ground ball pitchers with solid HR rates (i.e., low) tend to ‘sim’ better than the norm, and low-ish average/high on-base hitters tend to fare better than a high average/medium OBP hitter.  Kevin Youkilis will likely sim better than say Delmon Young as the low BB hitter is at the mercy of his BABIP, just like real life.   Some teams/owners might value a certain player or position more than another, just another factor that a list cannot totally encapsulate, plus this is for fun and entertainment also!

An everyday player is preferred over a pitcher, and a starting pitcher is preferred to a reliever (duh) so only one relief pitcher made the cut, and his future potentially lies in the starting rotation.  Pitchers are extremely volatile and injury prone and only eleven total pitchers made the Top 50 and one has recently been scheduled for TJ surgery and has effectively wiped out his entire 2011 season, lending even more credence to the above stated rule of thumb regarding the value of everyday position players.

There are of course many other factors that may come into play in a given season and some leagues might have different settings, rules that could affect a player’s overall value (like a strict salary system) but without further ado, here is the 2011 Simulation Baseball’s 50 Most Valuable Assets, starting with the also-rans, players who were just left off the list. 

There were a ton of great players who didn’t make the final cut and I could name 100s of players I like, here is a highlight of a few of the more interesting names left off:

Honourable mention:

SP Stephen Strasburg – though the phrase “Tommy John” doesn’t cause a massive coronary as it used to, the fact remains Strasburg will be going under the knife and will miss all of 2011 and who knows if he will be the same pitcher he was prior to this injury.  His injury has to be one of the biggest disappointments of the season in 2010, and I actually had my rankings finalized prior to his injury and he was close to cracking the top ten – what a shame.  Here’s hoping for a speedy and solid recovery.

SP Clay Buchholz – I still do not fully trust that Clay has ‘arrived’ despite a gaudy ERA (2.21) as his K rate has dropped again (has dropped every season in the bigs) to a pedestrian 6.2 K/9, his BABIP is unsustainable (.260) and his xFIP sits at a rather ordinary 4.19.  Still, nice to see he has finally put it all together for the BoSox in 2010.

 SP CC Sabathia – close, but his falling K rate and being a southpaw was the deciding factor, plus better options to choose from.

SS Jose Reyes – Another guy who must prove he can stay healthy and regain that patience he was starting to show at the plate, his declining defense and BB rate are worrisome however he is still young-ish and the position of shortstop is in sad shape.

RF Jay Bruce – Too many solid OFers to choose from, Bruce must continue to improve, but the power potential seems to be scratching the surface, hard to ignore minor league numbers and overall talent level.

1B Prince Fielder– tons of talent, but he plays an even easier position to fill (1B).

C Victor Martinez – yeah, catcher is that weak – and he is barely a catcher anymore.

3B Alex Rodriguez – what would a list be without A’Rod, however, given the better options ahead of him at 3B, his declining power production, his age and wonky hip A’Rod finds himself on the outside looking in.